Sitting in 7th place going into the final event.. just 18 points out from 5th place.
Rope climbs & heavy thrusters? Hell yeah!
The beeper went off, and Rob jumped up for his first 4 rope climbs in lightning speed. Kahn Porter was first to the bar, but all Rob cared about was Luke Fiso, Bayden Brown & Matt McLeod who were closely clustered around him in points. As the event went on, the gap between Rob and his 3 closest challengers widened. He was heading for a near 2nd place finish, but a costly no rep finished him 4th in his heat. But this could be enough!
You could feel the tension amongst the top 10 males all the way up in the stands. Who was it going to be? The top 3 were set (James Newbury, Dean Linder Leighton & Kahn Porter)... but no one could add up the points for the next two. We could see (and lip-read) the announcers in disbelief as to how close the points were. "In 4th place... Royce Dunne". WHAT! Where did he come from? An amazing first place in the final event clipped his first ticket to the 2018 Games. "And in 5th place... we almost couldnt find him"... Huh? "... Zeke Grove!". His super fast time in the 3rd heat gave him a second place in this workout, and he ended up moving from 11th all the way to 5th in one WOD (as much as we wanted Rob to make it, we are over the moon for Zeke and his family).
Happy, sad, and a little bit in disbelief... Everyone who came to watch Rob felt their heart sink as he shook his fellow contenders’ hands and put on a brave face while he watched his dream walk away.
"Man! That was so close!", "You did awesome, 4 points! How amazing!" "You can't be unhappy with that in your rookie year!".
Yes, it was amazing. Yes, it was so close. But that doesn't take away the painful feeling and constant thoughts of "what if".
Over the next few days, I could see Rob was obsessing over the small things: "What if I hadn't got that no rep, I would have made it". "If I could have just pressed out that thruster, I would have made it". "If I had just done 1 second faster in that workout, I would have made it".
CrossFit is a hard sport. You can train all year, be in the best shape (mentally, and physically) of your life, and there is absolutely no guarantee you will make it to the next level.
What creates a good competitor is someone who can look past this, believe in their ability, and not worry about anyone else. 4 days is what it took for Rob to be over his result and to start getting fired up for the next season. 4 days to push it all out of his mind and get excited about what he can do to close the gap of 4 points between him and his fellow competitors next year.
In the run up to the Games season Rob worked full time as a builder, while training for 3 hours per day, 6 days per week. He was 4 points out of qualifying for the 2018 CrossFit Games in his rookie year.
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